Private vs. Public School?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by kaeco510, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    Hey everyone

    I applied for a 7th/8th grade ELA job at a local private Jewish school on a whim...and got an interview for tomorrow morning! :)

    I'm just wondering what the real, significant differences are between working at a public vs. a private school?? Pros/cons of each?

    Also, how do salaries work at a private school? Is there a contract? Can you negotiate? etc etc.

    I am pretty much clueless when it comes to the world of private schools, so any insight / advice would be greatly appreciated! :)
     
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  3. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    Just some thoughts...

    1)There may be a morality clause in your contract
    2) There may be a dress code such as no sleeveless shirts for women
    3) I don't think there is any negotiation about pay. They will say we can offer "x"

    Perks of private schools: Class sizes are usually small. You have to follow the common core standards but you are not a slave to the state test. Parents are usually involved.

    Cons: The pay is lower. Parents sometimes get their way because they pay tuition. Not too much professional development.

    Is the school reform, orthodox or conservative?
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I went through alternate route certification with a wonderful teacher who was teaching in a Jewish private school. His experience was that religion was absolutely the first priority, and other classes took a seat at the back of the bus in terms of importance. I work at a private school, and yes, to everything said above. My school is, fortunately, in an affluent area, so they are similar in pay scale, but there is not the same salary guide you would have in a public school. No teacher's union, or reps, or protection. Contract? You bet, and you might want to see how much notice they contractually will/could hold you to if you decide this is not a good fit. Starting to be 60 days. Your hire or fire can be done pretty much on the spot - no board of ed. How that stacks up to your needs and wants, well, that is personal. If it is this job vs. no job, why not. If it is the job you have vs. this, apply due diligence in making your decision.
     
  5. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    I never applied for private schools because I was a sub with the department of ed, and didn't want to lose that. But I went to a private school and a few friends of mine taught in one. My understanding is…

    * Pay is different. USUALLY they get paid less than a public school teacher, possibly the amount of a paraprofessional in a public school.
    * Although they have benefits, they don't give tenure and can fire you for the littlest thing. My friend's co-worker got fired for not being able to attend their school's graduation. Gotta watch out for those.
    * Some private schools, if not all, allow teachers to make their own curriculum or follow whatever curriculum they want.
    * Private school makes their own rules and don't follow the DOE's rules.
    * There might be a strict dress code. For a Jewish school, definitely! I've had friends who worked in Jewish schools and had to cover their arms, and I had a friend who worked at an Islamic school and she had to cover everything, even her head. Other schools might be less strict, but they won't allow you to wear jeans and sneakers. Follow the dress code if you have to.

    If it's to get any teaching job, go for it. Again, I didn't do it because I was already tied down to the DOE as a sub and didn't want to lose that. But I'd probably do that if I didn't get the luck of becoming a sub.
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I taught at a private school and attended a different one.

    I had a morality clause. Anything in there I could be fired for-sex before marriage, unwed pregnancy, living with a member of the opposite gender, etc...

    The pay was $10k lower. The kids felt very entitled. Parents had a lot of control because they could threaten to yank their kid out and then the school would lose the money.

    I did have control over my curriculum but I had additional standards to teach too. Everything I did or said had to be in line with their teaching.

    I did not like it. I'm much, much happier in my public school.

    That all being said, the school I attended was MUCH better. It was a lot bigger so individual parents had less control. I feel I could be happy teaching there.
     
  7. hopesma

    hopesma Rookie

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    I taught at a private, religious school for a year. I had a good experience but it is very different than public school. Religion was definitely the biggest priority, which was slightly frustrating at times to fit in curriculum needs. I was not the same religion so while I was treated well, I was definitely an outsider. I did my best to learn the routines so I could model for the students.

    I was the only grade level teacher so there were no opportunities to co-plan with anyone. The other teachers were really good about answering questions and helping as they could. As a first year, that was intimidating. I think we had 1 PD day with other school but it wasn't until mid-second semester.

    Other than a set of standards and some basals and older textbooks, I was on my own for figuring out how to teach them. That was fun but also challenging because I wanted to right by the kids and school. The kids/families had been together most years so the class dynamics were close. The class size was small. It was nice but it was harder to form groups since they all knew each other soo well and were chatty. :)

    The principal was great and gave us lots of freedom. The parents were involved but did not cause many issues. There was lots of plan time due to some additional enrichment sections. It was a more relaxed environment and a nice way to ease into teaching.

    I'm now at a public school and have many more expectations for testing, documentation, meetings, etc. But the pay is also 45% more than I made in private so it's a trade off.

    Good luck!
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My mom taught at a lovely private school for almost her entire career. I would love to have the experience she had...BUT she did not make a livable salary. Growing up we basically lived on my dad's salary (public school teacher) and my mom's salary went to charity, vacations, and college fund. My dad's salary was more than four times what my mom's was, but she was a million times happier in her job than him. She had total freedom with curriculum and teaching methods, extremely small classes (usually no more than 12 kids), no behavior problems, no worries about passing state tests, no kids below grade level, supportive parents, etc. The thing she spent the most time on was figuring out the most "fun" way to teach things. I would LOVE it, but being single I can't afford it. Her school closed this year because they just didn't have the money to run it anymore. She was devastated...had no plans to retire, meanwhile, my dad is literally counting down the days!
     
  9. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    Wait - what exactly is a morality clause??

    You all have given me a lot to think about! (Of course, I would need to get an offer first haha) I am single and money is definitely an issue, so low pay would definitely be an issue.

    It would be nice to have freedom over my curriculum and not have to worry about state tests, but it seems like I would have to walk on eggshells to make sure I did not get fired? Also, I am not Jewish so I'm not sure how that would play into everything.

    It sounds like a small small smalllll school - the position is 7th & 8th grade ELA and SS.... the SS part makes me nervous. I am only certified in ELA and have never taught SS. I mean I'm sure I could figure it out, but it seems like I would have like 4 different classes??
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I had six preps and three grade levels at my private school.

    There are some FANTASTIC private schools. You just need to choose wisely, just like with a public school job. My public school now my class sizes range from 3-25. I have complete freedom over the curriculum. I have two grades and four preps. I call it my little utopia lol.
     
  11. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    It's a clause stating that you have to follow certain morals if you are a teacher school. At a Catholic school, my morality clause included --

    You cannot live unmarried with a person of the opposite sex.
    You cannot assist or have an abortion.
    You cannot participate in homosexual activities
    yadda yadda
    You get the idea?

    Orthodox/Conservative Jews are just as conservative as Catholics but Reform Jews are fairly liberal and won't be bothered by much.
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Question - why not say you couldn't live with anyone else other than a spouse of the opposite sex? And while they were at it, why not stipulate it had to be your spouse, not that of the next door neighbor? I can think of so many different ways to write that stuff that would be so much more entertaining! Sorry, I just got side-tracked!
     
  13. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    And mine also said you can't in any way appear to encourage or support those behaviors.
     
  14. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I teach in a public school and have a morality clause in my contract.
     
  15. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Just curious, is that even legal being that it's a public school?
     
  16. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Every district I've worked for has had it.
     
  17. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    Wow - I have never heard of that before! I'm not sure how I feel about that. I mean, my life right now is very very tame lol so it wouldn't be a problem. I'm just not sure how comfortable I am with a school potentially having that much say in my life. I guess I could make it work for a year or so. Lots to think about. Again, I would obviously need to get an offer and see the contract before this is really an issue...just thinking ahead!

    Thanks for all of your responses! :)
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My public school contract has a morality clause also, but it's much looser than the ones listed here. Essentially, the only big thing in it is that teachers aren't allowed to use marijuana. Since pot is legal in my state, this contradicts the state law. It also says that you can be fired for a DUI, or if you're convicted of any felony or certain misdemeanors. However, many of my friends who work for private companies have the same rules for continued employment, so it's not just teaching.
     
  19. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    This all makes total sense, minus the contradictions about smoking pot. Teachers are supposed to be role models, so if you are out getting DUIs all the time, you're probably not the best role model for the kids lol

    The stuff that is concerning to me is the no living with members of the opposite sex before marriage, no abortions, no homosexuality, no supporting any of the above, etc. That seems like the school has a little too much to say about the teachers' personal lives...
     
  20. RainStorm

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    Another thing you have to take into consideration is that in Catholic schools, insurance won't pay for contraception (so no birth control pills.) Even if you get them yourself and pay for them yourself, you could be fired for that, because using them is contrary to the teachings of the church. I can't imagine anyone being stupid enough to talk about such things, but if word got around... that ole morality clause kicks in. If you live with your boyfriend or girlfriend, the morality clause kicks in. You also have to be much, much more conservative in what you wear (necklines need to cover, no short, short dresses, nothing too tight or too revealing.)

    It is something to be aware of and to consider.
     
  21. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Teachers know these things going in though. No one forced me to take my private school job. I kept my opinions to myself and my private life private.

    ETA: while BC wasn't covered at my school, they wouldn't fire you for taking it if you could prove it was for another reason. Fairly easy to do as many women use it for other reasons.
     
  22. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    I didn't even think of the birth control issue....I've applied to Catholic schools in the area, so that's something to consider. Isn't birth control expensive without insurance? Or am I making that up?

    Thanks for pointing that out!!
     
  23. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Amen to that. :)
     
  24. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    BC is something that changed with Obamacare I believe. Look into pricing it out.
     
  25. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Yes, there are many, many teachers who take BC because of PMS ... that is a way out. Again, keeping your private life private is key.
     
  26. hopesma

    hopesma Rookie

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    I don't think mine had anything that specific in terms of morality and it was never an issue. I was not offered any benefits there. The dress code was not more conservative than a professional teacher at a public school. If anything, it was more casual.

    I did have sped kids and some mild behaviors as well as scholarship kids. It was small and lower income but such a nice community. You definitely have to be flexible and willing to pitch in when needed.

    If you are struggling to find a job and don't have higher paying options, I would not hesitate to take it for a year. It would give you a year of experience if nothing else. For future jobs, you will be able to highlight your ability to respect/accept others with different views, qualities that allowed you to be successful there, and creative lessons you'd taught there.
     
  27. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    No benefits?? That would be a major problem. I'm single and can't be on my parents' insurance anymore, and health insurance is super expensive...

    But you are definitely right about everything else. If it is my only offer, then I will absolutely take it and make it work!

    Thanks for your feedback! :)
     
  28. Mrs.Husakovic

    Mrs.Husakovic Rookie

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    I'm so glad I found this thread. I must say I'm shocked by how different private schools are from public schools and that the pay is so much worse. How much does a teacher in a private school get paid approximately? If it's ok to ask? I must say I'm surprised, most parents dream of sending their kids to private school, yet the teachers don't even have to be experienced...hmm....where do you find job postings for private schools?
     
  29. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    I found the posting on Schoolspring...it was listed with the public school jobs. I'm not sure about other private schools.

    That was an intense interview!! The interview itself was over an hour and 15! But I think it went well. The principal said he was going to call my references! :) I also got a tour of the school. It would definitely be a change - 18 students versus 90 last year!

    Lots to think about this weekend.
     
  30. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    Wow…this is the first time I'm learning about morality clause…it's pretty much your job controls your private life if you want to continue working in that school. How about let us be and allow us to act professional and keep our private stuff at home? Jeez…

    And I take BC for medical reasons. I was single when I started. And I am going to move in with my fiancé soon.

    …yea, look at the contract first, BEFORE you make an agreement. I'd say take the job just to get your foot in the door, but do what feels right.
     
  31. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    MissPapa, again, you know what you're getting into with these schools. They take their faith very seriously and they expect teachers to be strong role models for their students and reflect that faith. It's why many parents choose to send their children there.
     
  32. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    Very true. I definitely understand if it's a parochial school. I know a friend who went to a regular private school and had a bunch of moral clauses and she couldn't stand it. Yea. Anything you get yourself into, you might have to make some sacrifices.
     
  33. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    I accepted the verbal offer and will be going in on Monday to fill out the paperwork. I will let you guys know what the contract is like!

    The salary is only a few thousand less than I was making in my high-paying district last year. It really is on par with the neighboring towns, which is great! I definitely lucked out there. The benefits are so-so, but better than nothing. :)

    I can make it work for a year. Who knows, maybe it will be a perfect fit! And if not, it's another year of classroom experience to put on the resume.

    And my life is pretty boring right now so a morality clause really doesn't matter haha so sad
     
  34. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    It's cool, whatever makes you happy. Some people love the freedom of the curriculum some private school (if not all) gives them. Or it could just be the staff being super friendly. But yea, definitely read your contract carefully.
     
  35. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    kaeco510,

    I made the switch to a Catholic school (I'm not Catholic) and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I might not make as much money, but I have great working conditions, colleagues who truly care, and students who want to learn. You really can't ask for more.

    I consider myself to be very fortunate.
     
  36. CDOR79

    CDOR79 Comrade

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    I think it depends a lot on the location (state), the type of private school and your life circumstances.

    I am currently at a Catholic school and although I LOVE it there, I need to look into public schools because the pay is just not doing it for me. I'm going through some life changes and need to make more money! So I kind of have no choice. I just need to buck up and deal with any BS that may come my way...assuming I get hired by a public school. It could depend on the private school too but all the ones that I know of in my area pay around the same.

    Good luck!
     
  37. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I work for a private school that is not affiliated with a church or religion (although many of our students attend for personal religious reasons).

    I started in January when a teacher quit (had a lot of personal issues and couldn't juggle work and personal life). So this will be my first full year there. I really like my school as we are a classical education school (we use classical literature to teach literature, reading, history, writing, etc). We do not teach to the test, students do not take any state test (although I do not know what they do in high school...).

    The downside is parents can be REALLY invovled to the point that they question everything. I ran into a parent, not mine, out at a gym pool. I only knew she was a parent of our school because she was reading a book that we all had to read (staff and faculty). She then went into a tirade about why we do this and why we do that... this was summer vacation- SHEESH! Many of our parents are like that. And many are awesome and support what we do. So, it's just learning to deal with their complaints and challenges and moving on. Overall, I really enjoy working for a private school mainly because of the curriculum and because the students still love to learn.
     
  38. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    CDOR - I'm in kind of the same boat, but opposite. I was in public, then was out of a job and needed something. I was at the point where I would have to move back in with my parents at the end of the month if I did not have a job. This came along and allows me to stay where I am, plus make almost what I was making last year. While I'm not sure yet about working in a private school, I'm grateful to have something! Good luck to you as well :)

    Peachyness - that is a good point. The school is VERY small, so I anticipate the parents being super involved. I had a few doozies last year and they taught me a lot about dealing with parents. I'm hoping that since I don't live in the community that the school is located, I will have less of a chance of running into parents (hoping being the key word lol)! It's also looking like this school is more like what you are describing in terms of using classical texts, which I am excited for! But I also will have some flexibility and say in what I teach, which is great.

    Thanks for all of the insight!
     
  39. kaeco510

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    I have a meeting on Monday to go over everything, so that should be interesting. Either way, I can make it work for a year. If its not for me after the year, then I move on. I am excited about having freedom with curriculum. The director and I are meeting tomorrow as well to start discussing that :)
     
  40. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    Best of luck!!! I know my few friends who work at a Jewish school love it.
     

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